Opportunities | Department of Defense/National Security Agencies
Department of Defense (DoD):
- Defense Innovation Marketplace – This website was created to improve communication between DoD and industry about DoD investment priorities and Independent Research & Development (IR&D) projects occurring in industry.
Defense Innovation Unit (DIU)
The Defense Innovation Unit facilitates the prototyping and scaling of commercial technology including space technologies across the DoD. DIU has a limited budget for the acquisition of space technology; DoD partners expend funding through DIU.
- Business Partnerships – We provide non-dilutive capital in the form of pilot contracts for commercial innovation that solves Department of Defense (DoD) problems. And we do so quickly, usually in under 90 days. Pilot contracts can include hardware, software, or unique services. More importantly, after a successful pilot, the company involved and any DoD entity can easily enter into follow-on contracts, just as fast.
- Open Solicitations – Submit your commercial solutions to solve national security challenges with the help from DIU.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is an agency of the Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Its mission is to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. Many of DARPA’s research projects and its $4 billion annual budget pertain to space-based capabilities; however, the organization does not have a dedicated space division.
- Opportunities – DARPA pursues opportunities for transformational change rather than incremental advances. Their current areas of interest are listed on this page.
- Broad Agency Announcements – DARPA publicizes funding opportunities primarily by posting Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) that formally solicit proposals tied to program-specific areas of research and development. In addition to those opportunities, each DARPA technical office maintains an “office-wide” BAA that offers a mechanism for researchers to reach DARPA with an idea that may fall outside of DARPA’s current priorities, but that the proposer feels could be valuable to national security.
- Contract Management & Unsolicited Proposals – DARPA’s Contracts Management Office (CMO) has the authority to enter into and administer contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and Other Transactions in pursuit of DARPA’s research and development mission.
- For Small Businesses – DARPA knows ideas that lead to breakthrough technologies for national security often start small. To maximize the pool of innovative proposal concepts it receives, DARPA strongly encourages participation by all capable sources: industry, academia, and individuals.
Space Development Agency (SDA)
SDA is the DoD’s constructive disruptor for space acquisition. SDA will quickly deliver needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding, and operation of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. SDA’s fiscal year 2023 enacted budget is approximately $3B.
- Competition Opportunities – SDA capitalizes on a unique business model that values speed and lowers costs by harnessing commercial development to achieve a proliferated architecture and enhance resilience. SDA will deliver a minimum viable product – on time, every two years- by employing spiral development methods, adding capabilities to future generations as the threat evolves.
- For Small Businesses
SpaceWERX inspires and empowers collaboration with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape our future in space. SpaceWERX transitions agile, affordable, and accelerated capabilities by teaming innovative technology developers with Airmen and Guardian talent.
- SBIR/STTR Office – Directory for Air Force SBIR, Pitch Day, and technology programs.
- Small Business Portal – Portal for Air Force Pitch Days, Requests for Information, SBIRs, and project submissions.
- AFWERX – SBIR/STTR opportunities in specific technology focus areas.
- Space Prime – Space Prime leverages a diverse industry partnership engagement strategy to identify nascent space technology sectors that, if “primed”, could advance U.S. national security and economic prosperity. Prime engagement is not limited to government investment, but also allows SpaceWERX to address key policy concerns as well as offer testbeds and platforms to advance capabilities.
- Space Ventures – Space Ventures works with industry to identify, mature, and accelerate capabilities. In addition, this investment arm creates pathways for innovators and private capital investors to help advance Space Force technologies. In this role, the U.S. Space Force (USSF) becomes an early-stage investor by offering non-dilutive capital to accelerate commercialization and partnerships that address military needs.
- Hyperspace Challenge – Hyperspace Challenge forges valuable relationships between the government, industry, and university communities to accelerate innovation for the space domain.
- AFWERX Challenge – AFWERX Challenge is a high-quality market research program. We use design thinking workshops, crowdsourcing, collaboration showcase event and innovative contracting pathways to cast a wide net for industry and academic innovators to apply their latest technologies and solutions to government problems and accelerate the path from idea to deployed solution.
- STRATFI/TACFI – In an effort to help bridge the “Valley of Death” between Phase II and Phase III, the AFVentures program has developed the Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) and Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) Programs. Small businesses that have been awarded a Phase II contract within the last two years are eligible to apply for this annual notice of opportunity. The program requires various levels of matching funding and avenues for Defense and/or Industry matching, depending on the program sought.
Space Systems Command (USSF)
SSC is a U.S. Space Force acquisition organization responsible for developing, acquiring, equipping, fielding, and sustaining lethal and resilient space capabilities for warfighters. SSC manages an $11 billion annual budget for the DoD and employs 10,000 professionals.
- Space Systems Command Front Door – We facilitate Department of Defense (DoD) and government agency collaboration with commercial companies that seek to grow or share tested and emerging technologies that may advance our nation’s space-based capabilities and strengthen our national security.
- Connect with SSC Front Door – The Front Door is where you can engage with the Space Systems Command (SSC), either by asking a question or sharing an idea, product, or service. Explain your desired outcome (e.g., collaboration, demo, commercial sale, government contract, etc.). Explain how you are a strong fit in the space architecture and how you may provide additional value compared to your competitors. Let us know if you already have Government support and/or funding for your product/service.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpaceRCO)
SpRCO is a space acquisition organization specializing in delivering first-of systems to fill quick-turn needs of the USSF. Space RCO is currently executing about a dozen programs focused on protecting space assets and defending the Joint Force from space enabled attack.
- For industry partners wanting to showcase their technology, please contact: SpaceRCO.Innovations@spaceforce.mil
NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is a Navy Working Capital Fund activity where all costs, including overhead, are redeemed through sponsor-funded research projects.
- NRL Broad Agency Announcements – Portal containing solicitations for services from private industry.
- Small Business – The NRL Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) serves as the primary gateway for small businesses considering doing business with NRL and it staunchly promotes small business participation through prime contracting, subcontracting and partnering.
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force.
- Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Catalyst Space Accelerator – A defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in Colorado.
Intelligence Community Agencies
In-Q-Tel is a not-for-profit venture capital firm that invests in cutting-edge technologies to enhance national security. Their investments are focused on companies that can deliver useful technology to the Intelligence Community within 36 months. In-Q-Tel receives $60 million a year by the IC primarily from the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Startup Submission Portal – From the dot-com boom to the age of AI, IQT has been scouting revolutionary tech tools to help the intelligence and defense communities keep our nation safe.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is an agency within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to address challenges in the Intelligence Community. IARPA facilitates the transition of research results to IC customers for operational applications.
- Engage with Us – Current opportunities including open BAAs, requests for information, proposers’ days, and seedlings.
- Research Programs Database – List of all current IARPA projects and their points of contact.
- Program Managers – IARPA Program Managers are experts in their fields of research who bring imagination and dedication to challenges facing the Intelligence Community (IC). The work of IARPA PMs directly and substantially impacts the IC’s future capabilities and, more broadly, the field of science.
- Business Solicitations/Needapedia – The list of needs below is designed to communicate the solutions DIA is seeking, while providing an entry point into government acquisition through an Open Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO).
- Office of Small Business Programs – DIA-OSBP serves as the Agency’s focal point for issues and practices concerning small business utilization. Our office promotes the use of small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small business, HUBZone and Veteran-owned and Service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is the lead federal agency for geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, and manages a global consortium of more than 400 commercial and government relationships. The director of NGA is charged with synchronizing operations to realize a professional, interoperable, agile and integrated GEOINT enterprise.
- Work With Us – NGA works with industry to improve NGA capabilities and data that helps the U.S. military and public achieve its mission. IndustryEngagement@nga.mil
- Small Businesses – This office provides expert small business advice on NGA acquisitions and manage Small Business Programs to find the next small business talent, capabilities and innovation for NGA, in support of the warfighter and national security. email@example.com
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is an agency of the DoD and member of the IC that designs, builds, and operates the nation’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance satellites to secure and expand America’s advantage in space. They are building a diversified and resilient architecture of spacecraft and ground systems designed to meet the challenges of a changing space environment by accelerating innovation and leveraging strategic partnerships, backed by a diverse and highly skilled workforce.
- Doing Business with NRO – Contact: IndustryEngagement@nro.mil (Commercial Systems Program Office)
- Acquisition Research Center (ARC) – Acquisition Center of Excellence (ACE) that is used by the Intelligence Community (IC) to support e-commerce with Industry. It provides a unique ability for procurement officials to participate in the communication exchanges that are controlled to protect the source selection sensitive information and proprietary equities of the participants, and features specialized services and capabilities critical to the successful acquisition of goods and services for the IC and other Government activities. The ARC is available in both a classified and unclassified format to support a wide range of source selection activities.
- Disadvantaged Business Outreach Program – NRO recognizes the value and importance of small business and non-traditional companies participation in bidding for NRO contracts as a source of innovation, competitive pricing, and customer-focused support. The Disadvantaged Business Outreach (DBO) program, although not a “set-aside” program, focuses on outreach and provides training to address identified obstacles.
- Director’s Innovation Initiative – The Director’s Innovation Initiative (DII) invests across the U.S. in cutting edge technologies and high payoff concepts relevant to the NRO’s missions for national security. The DII is an annual program that regularly releases announcements and requests in search of innovative ideas that support NRO. Contact: DII@nro.mil (AS&T Director’s Innovation Initiative)